My friend Harold was told that he wouldn’t make it past five years during his fight with cancer. “I felt like I had lost my breath,” he said. “Then it became really clear what was important in life.”
We were on our way to the hospital to see Lucy, whom doctors and specialists have dismissed. They told her that they had done everything that they could. She was in the same zone that Harold called “facing your mortality.” We confess Scriptures and try to pray our way out off that no-man’s land, but God sent Harold and Lucy to that place.
“What was that priority that became clear when you heard that report?” I asked Harold. I expected to hear that the priority that became clear was his family. He said, “My walk with God.”
That surprised me because Harold doesn’t come across as your super spiritual Christian dispensing Scriptures and prophetic words. He served behind the scenes at the Smithton Outpouring, a revival that attracted a quarter-million people from around the world to a town of 532. Harold raised four kids, worked and went to college while serving during six services a week. Harold was one of 68 families that moved to Kansas City. He faced his fight with death in Kansas City.
“So your walk with God became your priority,” I said. “Yup, I needed him to live,” he said.
I haven’t been in that place of facing my mortality. I’m healthy and have some struggles that aren’t giants like a life-threatening illness. My giants are fighting for inclusion for a special-needs daughter and my finances.
Yet that very day my mortality erupted like a monster inside when I received a bill that I didn’t think I could pay. I threw a coffee cup across the room overwhelmed by the frustration of trying to do everything right and yet that was not enough. I instantly felt ashamed that I caved into fear. I figured out my budget, which revealed that the bill was covered.
An hour later I was sitting in the hospital visiting my friend, Lucy. She was surrounded by friends praying for her. One of those friends, Randy Long, is a hero of mine and we hugged each other at this unexpected reunion around faith and mortality. I admired Randy for his walk with God after he tragically lost his son.
Lucy was upbeat, funny and cloaked by a glow of peace. She was going home in a few days for “palliative care,” medical jargon for comfort during a fight with an illness that’s beyond human ability to treat. Now she is completely depending on God to live.
I’m standing with Lucy and her family and friends, believing that God will do what only He can do and that she will be a testimony to the doctors and specialists. I told Lucy about how I threw a cup against the wall and she laughed. “You don’t want to know what I’ve done when I’m mad,” she said.
I had to hold back tears because I know that my little episode isn’t like the storm that she is walking through. I don’t know the outcome, but I know that God will be there. I know that God is walking with her now. And that God is walking with me now.
I know that the No. 1 priority in my life is my walk with God. My No. 1 priority is how I treat Him, how I talk to Him and how I love Him. Achievements, deadlines, ministries, chasing success and people whose opinions of me I have cared way too much about will fade away when it comes down to just me and God.
I picked up the shards of that broken coffee cup strewn across the kitchen floor in tears. I should be a spiritual giant after everything I’ve learned and been taught. I’m a writer and an editor of a publication read by millions of people. I should confess Scriptures, pray and believe God.
Instead I caved into my mortality and God was there. He took away my shame. He took away my fear and then I did what I thought I should do. I prayed, I fought, I stood in Scriptures. I did this with Him in my mortality.
What about you? Do you avoid your mortality, thinking that He would dismiss you as unspiritual and weak? I encourage you to face your mortality as an uninvited guest that brings someone else with them. Someone who casts mountains into the sea, stops storms and rains down manna. I am weak, but He is strong.
Leilani Haywood is the Online Editor for SpiritLed Woman. An award-winning writer and author of Ten Keys to Raising Kids That Love God, you can follow her on Twitter @leilanihaywood.